By Bill Heaney

West Dunbartonshire Council’s new Labour Group leader Martin Rooney should immediately investigate and rectify the scandalous situation that is developing at High Overtoun  over tree felling in residential areas of Dumbarton and the Vale.

Otherwise the electorate there will begin to believe that there was no advantage to be had in voting the SNP out of office and expecting the Scottish Labour Party to make changes and introduce common sense into the way things are run by the council in Dumbarton.

The former SNP leader Jonathan McColl, pictured right,  had the council spin doctors portray him as a climate change supporter and defender of the environment when he was nothing of the kind.

He looked the other way when trees and important hawthorn hedges were being cruelly cut down at Garshake.

Now it’s happening again – and community councillor Linda Speir is dismayed.

She told friends on social media: “We’ve just had the Site Manager from Miller Homes at our door saying they’re cutting away at least 50% of the beautiful silver birch in our garden that we’ve looked out at for 40 years.

“Granted, part of it overhangs land they have now purchased. They’re having the tree cut to allow piling to be done. Leaving half a tree isn’t practical and the tree wouldn’t survive.

This matter could turn out to be a test of whether Labour does what the SNP claimed to do but didn’t.
At least 30 people posted support for Linda and her husband, Tom, on social media.
Alannah Maurer wrote: ” Linda this is horrendous, the wanton destruction of nature for greed 🤬
Linda told her:”I very much blame West Dunbartonshire Council for this. Many of the residents in our street requested that Miller Homes retain a small strip of land less than 2 metres wide in order to protect trees and certain WDC councillors took the side of the builders.”
Other women rallied round to support Linda’s cause.

Jennifer Craig Hume said “not good…hope there is compensation” …. Susan Dailey called what had happen “disgraceful, ecological vandalism in the name of profit …. I remember when the house across the back from my mum’s was sold and the new owner cut down the magnificent tree in the back garden, it was awful and definitely impacted the number of birds that visited. But I’m also just so angry at the am …

Linda replied: “I couldn’t agree more. I know it’s ‘only’ a tree, but on days when Tom has been very unwell and not able to go anywhere, he’s enjoyed looking out at the tree and the wildlife it’s encouraged into our garden. It’s brought him so much joy.”

Margaret Nutter suggested: “As you lament the loss, plant something for the future.”

Community councillor Linda Speir, her garden at Garshake and new Labour leader Martin Rooney.

Linda described that as “a lovely suggestion, but it will take many years before anything we grow hides the monstrosity that is going to be behind our wall. Will give much thought though to what can be put in its place.”

Janette Mackie wrote: “So sorry to hear this Linda. Money, money, money that’s all they want. I know how you feel Linda. Two houses have been built across from our wee flat meaning any decent view we had of the trees has gone. It must be worse for you though when your tree is in your garden. “

Linda told Janette: “Indeed, Janette. All the promises about saving our environment mean nothing.”

Joan Colman asked: “So sorry to hear this, did you get see the plans before build? The very greenery that helps us breathe.”

She answered: “Joan, yes at the consultation stage, then the plans were amended. We objected along with others, but to no avail.”

Louise Robertson of the Community Party sympathised: “They know the price of everything and the value of nothing. So sad to read this.”

Ann Pryce said it was “heartbreaking” and Ann Lynch described it as “absolutely shocking” and photographer Michael Moffat advised: “Make sure they don’t cut anymore than necessary , take pics from all sides.”

Linda Speir said: “Part of the issue is that we go on holiday tomorrow for a week – holiday now somewhat spoiled, and they’ve said they’ll carry out the work within the next fortnight. The tree may be gone by the time we get back.”

Mary Sweetland suggested: “Ask them to plant a mature specimen for you further in your garden as compensation? It will cost them about £200 and they have labourers to plant it. Mclarens nurseries at Lugton are main suppliers to garden centres.”

Linda told her: “It might be worth a try, but I doubt we’ll get anywhere with that.”
Well, will it be worth a try? Linda and Tom have gone on holiday, so can the new Labour council come up with something to help? Can they spare that tree?
The Democratwill put the question to them. It is possible however they will not respond just as the SNP have done have done for the past four years.

Well known SNP supporter Arthur Jones posted:  There is a tree on *Council* land that has large branches that stretch dangerously into our back garden. This legally suspect abuse of your tree (it is not actually *on* their land) and destructive act will motivate lazy me to demand that the Council (the nice shiny new Labour one that is going to collect an oil giant windfall tax – haha) either remove their tree, though I don’t want that, or cut it back sensitively. They should well be able to afford to.

Linda Speir –  Worth a try Arthur, although my only concern would be that your offending tree might be hacked down by WDC and not done to the standards of a proper tree surgeon. Although we don’t want our own tree cut down, we’ve requested that Miller Homes allow us to use the tree surgeon who has maintained the tree. Obviously would be at our own expense but would rather that than some botched job. Methinks though, that the tree might be gone by the time we get back from holiday.

The hawthorn hedge at Garshake Road that was that was cruelly cut down by the SNP council.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the Woodland Trust has hit out at the “senseless” chopping down of trees in Dumbarton.

Around a dozen trees were cut down without permission sometime between May 8 and 11 at Lang Craigs.

Police Scotland are investigating the felling, with Woodland Trust Scotland, which manages the site, urging people with information to get in touch with officers.

George Anderson of Woodland Trust Scotland told one journalist: “Around a dozen trees have been cut down. The most significant one is a 70-year-old double-stemmed birch – a grand old tree for the species.

“It is such a shame. There are also some willow, oak and more birch. Nothing has been taken away so it’s quite a senseless act.  We would really appreciate it if anyone who saw anything gets in touch with the police.”

A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police are appealing for witnesses to the cutting down of trees without the permission of Woodlands Trust at Barwood, Lang Craigs, Garshake Road, Dumbarton, between May 8 and 11.  If anyone can assist police with their inquiries.

“Please contact them on 101, citing incident number 0785 of May 12. Alternatively, please contact Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111.”

One comment

  1. It’s all about money folks. New Labour, old SNP, same old Council officials.

    We’ll see if anything changes.,

Leave a Reply